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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Knowledge key to future of work

By Kate Clifton

Knowledge workers will be organisations’ most valuable source of competitive advantage by 2020, according to a wide-reaching report on the company of the future, by the Economist Intelligence Unit (sponsored by Cisco Systems).

Whether in outward-facing functions, such as sales, or internal positions like knowledge management, survey respondents cited these individuals as key to organisational success.
"Relationships, knowledge management and creativity will be essential to gaining and sustaining competitive advantage in core markets over the next 15 years," claims the report, ‘Foresight 2020 Economic, industry and corporate trends’.

It also recommends that organisations practice more systematic monitoring and measuring of creativity and innovation through service audits; invest in business-intelligence tools to help develop customer-specific sales and servicing strategies; and, re-think recognition and compensation systems that reward creativity and exceptional customer service.

"Customers are looking for a higher level of interactivity and personalisation," says Rob Lloyd, senior vice president of Cisco’s US and Canadian operations. "To be successful, companies have to invest in workers and technologies that can drive collaboration and interactions inside and outside the company across the entire value chain of customers, partners and suppliers."
Furthermore, although increased process automation remains a prominent focus for productivity growth, particularly in non-services industries, respondents expect to focus more energy on improving organisational structures and communication.

The report was drawn from a global, online survey of senior executives, a series of in-depth interviews with executives, analysts and policy-makers, and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s proprietary long-term economic forecasts for the world’s major economies.

For full details, visit: www.eiu.com/foresight2020.

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